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Android said to be home to 79% of mobile malware

Report suggests Google's OS dominates when it comes to malicious code

By MARK JONES

Published: 7 March, 2013

READ MORE: US | Google | Security | Android | iOS

While Android's openness is one of the reasons it's so popular it seems like it can also be a bit of a curse, when it comes to malware. According to a recent report released by security specialists F-Secure Android was the home of 79% of all mobile malware in 2012. This dwarfs iOS's share of the malware which amounts to only 0.7%.

The report highlights a growing problem with the platform as 79% is a significant increase from 2011's 66.7%. It's not as dramatic as the increase from 2010 to 2011 though which saw it jump from 11.25% to 66.7%.


Interestingly the second most active OS for malware is Symbian with 19% while Windows Phone, BlackBerry and J2ME devices have a shared total of 1%.

Symbian has experienced a significant drop from 2010 when its share was at 62.5%, falling to 29.7% in 2011. F-Secure points out that Nokia's abandonment of the OS is probably to blame for the drop and it's quite likely it will have dropped even more significantly when 2013 rolls around.

With the exception of Symbian and iOS the numbers seem fairly consistent with each platform's marketshare, with iOS clearly being the most popular safe choice. In terms of its attractiveness to malware authors iOS has its closed nature going in its favour. Android on the other hand has its openness and continued growth in popularity going against it in this respect.

Operating systems aside the main form the malware has taken is as a Trojan disguised as something innocent and SMS messages have also been a common way of targeting users.

While the figures sound shocking at first there is some question over how accurate they are and how much of a threat some of the malware in question actually poses. Even if Google users feel a bit perturbed Android is not a defenceless OS and there are plenty of anti-malware apps available from Google Play.

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